Dani’s and Steve’s Picks and Pairings—Winter, 2014

We’ve come up with some winners to keep you warm and satisfied during these short days and cold nights!

We start with the Gurkha 15-Year Aged Cellar Reserve Limitada Maduro (6’x60, $16.95). A new member of the Gurkha line-up, this cigar features all of the nuanced and refined layers of flavor of the original Cellar Reserve, but with a bolder and richer character. Yet it still retains the smoothness of the best-selling Cellar Reserve, with an added layer of sweetness and body on the finish. It is easy to draw and well-constructed, with 15 year old Dominican filler, an aged Dominican Olor binder, and finished with a beautiful Brazilian Arapiraca maduro wrapper. Try this medium-to-full masterpiece now, as it is a limited edition blend!

Now, for the perfect beer pairing with this cigar, we suggest the hot-selling “Victory At Sea” Imperial Porter from Ballast Point Brewery here in San Diego ($6.50-12 oz.; $7.50-16 oz.). This rich and dark porter (10% ABV) received a 98 rating from Beer Advocate and is brewed with coffee and vanilla. Medium-full in body, the slight hoppy bitterness up front is balanced by the roasted coffee notes and maltiness. The slight vanilla sweetness is the perfect compliment to the up-front flavors, helping provide a long and satisfying finish.

Our next cigar pick is the San Cristobal “Revelation” (toro, $9.95), a new offering from the Ashton family of fine cigars. This smooth and even-burning cigar is medium-full in body, with a solid and refined spicy core flavor (from the Nicaraguan filler and binder), with the added sweetness from its Sumatra wrapper. With only a slight white pepper bite on the front of the tongue, the cigar finishes with a remarkably clean palate, despite the copious smoke and rich flavor. This one is a must-try!

Our suggested beer pairing with the Revelation is Davy Brown Ale from Figueroa Mountain Brewery in Buellton, CA ($6.00-16 oz., 6% ABV). A dark mocha-colored brew, it is built with caramel and chocolate malts, combined with Northern Brewer and Cascade hops. This combo produces chocolate and coffee notes played against hints of citrus and stone fruit. At only 29 IBU’s the bitterness is slight and mellow. This beer won gold medals at the 2011 and 2012 Denver International Beer Competitions, so it is a worthy pint!

Our final cigar pick for this installment is Pete Johnson’s Tatuaje Conoju 2012 Habano (toro, $14.95). This box-pressed beauty is built with Nicaraguan fillers and binder, and an oily Ecuadorian habano wrapper. A long-lasting smoke, it fills the mouth with coffee, cedar and citrus notes, and has a slight peppery bite on the start (which smooths out quickly). With medium body and flavor, the cigar produces lots of smoke, with an airy draw and smooth burn.

Pair the Tatuaje with our “Doggie Style” pale ale from Flying Dog Brewery in Frederick, MD ($6.00-16 oz.; 5.5% ABV). This classic style pale ale received very good ratings on Beer Advocate and pairs perfectly with the Conoju 2012 Habano. The Northern Brewer, Cascade, Simcoe and Citra hops grab your palate first, with a mellow bitterness and aromatic tropical fruit notes. The subtle sweetness of the caramel malts balances out this light-to-medium bodied ale perfectly. Ranked by the New York Times as America’s “number one American Pale Ale,” this special brew is not to be missed!

Stay tuned for more exceptional cigar and beer pairings early this Spring. Until then, “Salud!” And keep on burnin’ baby!